By Eileen Louissaint, Altima Contributing Writer
Kendall Deflin is a familiar face among the younger Palm Beach crowd. A native of the island, she has grown up closely with some of the famous and distinguished names who some might experience a starstruck episode upon meeting. After a stint hostessing at Buccan and Imoto, two of the hottest restaurants on the island, she is now focused on pursuing a professional career in the music industry. So far this year, she has toured with Dead & Company featuring 3 original members of the Grateful Dead, John Mayer stepping in for Jerry Garcia, Oteil Burbridge (Allman Brothers Band) on bass, and Jeff Chimenti. She writes editorials, interviews rock legends, and participated in the fruition of a movie documentary. The best part is, she is just beginning. Before you dive into this interview, Kendall requests one thing: “Dare to eat a peach.”
“I first learned this phrase from the 1972 Allman Brothers record “Eat A Peach” when drummer Butch Trucks explained it to me….To “eat a peach” is to live your life fully, because you know what you are getting into when you take that first bite. It’s sweet, it’s sour, messy and gritty; it even gets stuck in your teeth, but by that you should not be bothered. You can always change your shirt.”
Altima: Describe yourself in 3 words.
Kendall: Positive, Motivating, Happy
Altima: What did you study in college? Why?
Kendall: I majored in Communications, with a focus in rhetoric, and double-minored in English and Psychology. Education and learning have always been important to me. I am inspired to absorb as much knowledge and useful information as I can, and to find applications for such in everyday life.
During my academic career, I developed a philosophy: the life of a Raging Scholar. (Search the hashtag #ragingscholar on Instagram for more details. While you’re at it, check out #kendeeventures for a glimpse into the life of my-traveling-gypsy-self). The key to this mindset is that of balance. In maintaining a near 4.0 GPA throughout the later years of my university life, I was still able to escape on weekends and travel to faraway lands for hundreds of self-satisfying musical adventures. Concerts, music festivals, anywhere from Florida, New Orleans, New York, and even to Dominican Republic or Mexico; I traveled a LOT in college and it was all out of extreme passion. The majority of my time in between these epic adventures was spent in the 24-hour library on the campus of Florida Atlantic University. It was more of a home than my own bed, but I preferred the continuous stimulation over a dull mind any day. This resulted in my graduating at the top of my class with Summa Cum Laude, among other national honors and a very proud family.
Altima: What are you doing now? (You can get as detailed as you want)
Kendall: I recently moved to NYC to work with a young band Lions On The Moon and manage the marketing and release of their self-titled debut album Lions On The Moon (now available on iTunes). The group features 12-year old guitar phenomenon Brandon Niederauer (“Taz”) who is now performing as a lead role in Andrew Lloyd Webber’s newest broadway production School Of Rock: The Musical. (The play debuts on December 5th at the Winter Garden Theatre.)
With my responsibilities to Brandon and Lions On The Moon lessening, I began my search for growth and was appreciative of the opportunity to expand my experience in the music industry with Live For Live Music. I am especially happy to be working alongside young, creative, like-minded individuals in the scene that have launched an entire brand of its own: to experience, love, and share music, all on our own time.
Live For Live Music is a lifestyle, a taste bucket if you will– covering media, marketing, promotion, management, and production. By no means is this another redundant 9-5 job; it’s an incredibly exciting, forever-changing, “No Sleep Till Brooklyn”, 24-hour kind of job. I live in the moment, and music drives my direction. Vroom vroom.
Since joining the L4LM team fairly recently, I have been writing editorials, conducting interviews, engaging in marketing strategies, promoting shows, and even participated in the fruition of a movie documentary about the new-age funk band Lettuce. I’ve attended 5 Dead & Company shows (with 3 original members of the Grateful Dead, John Mayer stepping in for Jerry Garcia, Oteil Burbridge (Allman Brothers Band) on bass, and Jeff Chimenti on keys). However my real dream came true when I interviewed two of the band’s current members: Oteil Burbridge and Jeff Chimenti.
(Important Note: People call me Penny Lane all the time because they don’t know any better. I want to clarify how insulting that is to me as a professional. Just because I am a female working/living amongst legends of Rock & Roll, does not mean that I am equivalent to the groupie that starred in an incredible film and lived a bad ass life. My intentions are far from the character’s, and you all should realize that by now. I still love you, though!).
Altima: Who has inspired you the most? How?
Kendall: Walt Whitman really struck a chord with me when I was in college, thinking tirelessly about how to communicate my own personal philosophies. His poems artistically explained so many thoughts I had going on in my head at the time; I don’t think anyone could explain the universe any better. “Every moment of light and dark is a miracle” // “I believe a leaf of grass is no less than the journey-work of the stars.” // “For every atom belonging to me as good belongs to you.” //“The future is no more uncertain than the present.” // “When I give I give myself.” “And your very flesh shall be a great poem.”
Altima: Who is your favorite artist? (Musician, painter, sculptor, etc)
Kendall: Albert Einstein. Einstein created an art, a science, out of what we would have all considered to be boring, meaningless, letters and numbers on a page. “If the facts don’t fit the theory, change the facts.” It’s all relative, man.
Altima: What do you consider your proudest moment in life?
Kendall: It’s about the journey, not the destination. It is my goal to be proud of every moment I have control over, so to choose one, defining experience to be most proud of seems wrongful to my personal philosophy. I make every decision with great intention, say every word with extreme thoughtfulness, and use all available power in my being to practice acceptance for whatever situation arises (for I know that is the way life is meant to be).
Altima: Where do you enjoy spending your weekends?
Kendall: On the beach or at a music festival. I really miss the FAU Library, though.
Altima: Favorite cuisine and where to get it?
Kendall: Anything Buccan or Imoto, seriously. Tuna and foie gras slider all day.
Altima: Go-to outfit for Happy Hour?
Kendall: Jeans and a band tee, a ton of jewelry, and maybe a clunky heel. If I need to dress things up, I like to miss-match styles: I might wear a bright color Lilly-esque pattern with darker, grunge accessories, and some chunky boots. Classic Palm Beach meets IDGAF rebel: always a win, with an attitude that follows (shout-out to my alter ego Lola)!
Altima: What is the next vacation you plan to take?
Kendall: Seriously, every day of my life is a vacation. But I work very hard to make that my reality.
Altima: Any pets?
Kendall: I used to have a pet ecosystem full of baby shrimp. Then I dropped it.
Altima: What is your favorite store to shop at?
Kendall: All of my best friends’ closets.
Altima: What is your favorite accessory?
Kendall: The arm-band; I’ll never leave home without one.
Altima: Advice to young professionals who want to make their dreams happen?
Kendall: “Dare to eat a peach.” I first learned this phrase from the 1972 Allman Brothers record “Eat A Peach” when drummer Butch Trucks explained it to me. Evidently Duane Allman had been reading a lot of T.S. Eliot before he passed away in a motorcycle accident, right before this album was completed. There is a line in Eliot’s poem “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock” that goes: “Shall I part my hair behind? Do I dare to eat a peach?”, telling of the times it takes to grow old, the realizations that consume you, and the beauty that exists all around. To “eat a peach” is to live your life fully, because you know what you are getting into when you take that first bite. It’s sweet, it’s sour, messy and gritty; it even gets stuck in your teeth, but by that you should not be bothered. You can always change your shirt.
If you “eat a peach for peace”, take big bites out of life, you’re going to get messy – we know. But to test one’s own limits, find out one’s own capabilities, freedoms and restrictions, one may find out just who they are or want to become. My advice goes on to say that you should do what you love (so long as it is with respect to yourself and the universe), and the rest will come later.